What to do if your dog runs away

Prevention is always key but sometimes a dog will chase an animal or become disoriented and take off. While we always hope this never happens it does on occasion. Always make sure your dog has an identifying marker on them, be it an engraved name tag or a microchip with your up to date information on it. Recently while out hiking with my dogs we encountered not one but three hunting dogs that had followed a scent (we presume) over ten miles from where they were originally working with their owners. All of the dogs had on collars with information for the owners as well as GPS and satellite collars. One of the dogs stayed with us thanks to some beef jerky that I had in my pack. We were able to call her owner from the summit and by the end of the day reunite her with her people. The other two were picked up by some Appalachian Trail thru hikers and brought to the closest road where they were also returned to their owners. Most people do not have that amount of technology attached to their dog at a given time, so here are some helpful tips on what to do if your dog runs away.

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When your beloved dog runs away, it can be a traumatic experience for both of you. Here are some tips that we hope will help you find your pet.

1. Contact local animal shelters and animal control agencies. File a lost pet report complete with a recent photo with every shelter within a 60-mile radius of your home and visit the nearest shelters daily, if possible.

To find your local shelter, search online or check your phone book. If there is no shelter in your community, contact the local police department, and local veterinarians. Provide these agencies with an accurate description and a recent photograph of your pet. Notify the police if you believe your pet was stolen.

2. Search the neighborhood. Walk or drive through your neighborhood several times each day. Ask neighbors, letter carriers and delivery people if they have seen your pet. Hand out a recent photograph of your pet and information on how you can be reached if your pet is found.

3. Advertise. Post notices at grocery stores, community centers, veterinary offices, traffic intersections, pet supply stores and other locations. Also, place advertisements in newspapers and with radio stations. Include your pet’s sex, age, weight, breed, color and any special markings. When describing your pet, leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds your pet to describe it.

4. Try the Internet. These sites may be able to help you out:

5. Be wary of pet-recovery scams. When talking to a stranger who claims to have found your pet, ask him to describe the pet thoroughly before you offer any information. If he does not include the identifying characteristic you left out of the advertisements, he may not really have your pet. Be particularly wary of people who insist that you give or wire them money for the return of your pet.

6. Don’t give up your search. Animals who have been lost for months have been reunited with their owners.

A pet has a better chance of being returned if they always wears a collar and an ID tag with your name, address and telephone number. Ask your local animal shelter or veterinarian if permanent methods of identification (such as microchips) are available in your area.